The Best European Show: A Dramedy of the Absurdities of Theatre and Europe

In our recent chat with Philip Leone Ganado and Gianni Selvaggi, two of the local actors involved in ‘The Best European Show’, we delved into what their personal experiences were while the production travelled across Poland and Parma.

Philip Leone-Ganado, whose character leads a fervent protest outside the jury’s deliberation room, sheds light on the intricacies of his role. “He’s an idealist, but a doer, ready to put himself on the line for what he believes in,” Philip shares. For this seasoned Maltese performer, this project wasn’t merely another production—it was an exploration of collaboration on an unprecedented scale.

Philip mentioned that living in Opole, Poland, for eight weeks meant more than a change of location; it was an immersion into a melting pot of cultures and theatrical traditions. “The rehearsal schedule, from 2 pm to 9 pm, six days a week, turned the cast into a tight-knit family.” Philip fondly reminisces about Sundays filled with too much pasta, too much wine, and Eurovision songs, creating bonds that transcended language barriers. 

Philip was mostly struck by how accustomed the other theatres and artists were to these sorts of co-productions. “Whatever barriers we in Malta perceive to exist – languages, resources, culture – other countries and theatres have already figured out how to overcome”, he says. “Our theatre can only become stronger and richer by opening itself up to Europe and the wider world. This has to be a priority.”

Gianni Selvaggi, who played the role of Eden, the Festival Director’s assistant, reflects on his character’s evolution. Initially discreet, Eden becomes more vocal, subtly influencing unfolding scenarios. Selvaggi’s portrayal unfolds against the rich backdrop of European theatre politics, mirroring the intricate dance of passion and politics. “Imagine taking the concept of that contest and applying it to the Theatre world. As a production, I would say it’s quite an interesting, absurdist comedic tragedy.” “The experiences in Poland and Parma offered distinct flavours. Opole, with its serene atmosphere, provided an ideal environment for concentrated work. Parma, on the other hand, brought the thrill of performing in the Teatro Farnese, a Renaissance gem that left an indelible mark on our artistic soul.” 

Selvaggi mentioned that the interaction with audiences in Poland and Italy revealed subtle differences. The Italian audience, less reliant on surtitles, focused more on the physicality of the performance. These distinct reactions highlight the play’s universal appeal, transcending language barriers to deliver a powerful message.

Among the cherished memories, Selvaggi recalls a spontaneous swim in a freshwater lake with Philip in Opole. These moments encapsulate the essence of the production—a blend of seriousness and absurdity, much like the show itself. For Selvaggi, the most significant takeaway was realising that the production united European actors, each with diverse backgrounds and practices, to create something special. “It’s really no small feat – getting 5 theatres to co-produce a piece of work with 11 actors, surrounded by 8 different languages… is something quite special.”

Ahead of its premiere at The Teatru Manoel in February, Leone-Ganado and Selvaggi describe the show as a thought-provoking piece on European theatre, an opportunity to experience exceptional actors not seen before on a Maltese stage, and a glimpse into the potential future of Maltese theatre as an integral part of the European artistic landscape.

Early bird tickets for ‘The Best European Show’ have just been launched and will only be available until December 31st. Seize the opportunity to secure your seats. Purchase your tickets here

Calling All Theatre Companies: Applications Now Open for the Theatre Company Programme

Are you a theatre company with a burning passion for the stage, but lacking the space and resources to bring your creative visions to life? Well, we’ve got fantastic news for you! Arts Council Malta, in collaboration with Teatru Malta, the National Theatre Company, is thrilled to announce the launch of the Theatre Company Programme. This initiative is designed to empower theatre companies like yours, offering funding, support, and an opportunity to become an Associate Company of Teatru Malta for the next three years.

What’s the Theatre Company Programme All About?

Imagine having access to a dedicated space where your creative ideas can flourish, your ensemble can thrive, and your artistic journey can unfold over the course of three years. The Theatre Company Programme is all about providing mid-career and established theatre companies with the means to secure their own rehearsal and performance space, fostering an environment where innovation and collaboration can take centre stage.

Who Can Apply?

If you’re a passionate ensemble-based theatre company with a track record of producing compelling work for at least three years, this opportunity is tailor-made for you. Whether you’re a registered entity with the Malta Business Registry or enrolled with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations, you’re eligible to apply. Moreover, theatre ensembles or companies can join forces and submit a joint application. As part of the program, successful applicants will also be encouraged to mentor a younger theatre company or group, fostering a sense of community and paying it forward.

What’s in It for You?

The Theatre Company Programme offers more than just financial support. If selected, you could receive a grant of up to €100,000 disbursed over three consecutive years. This funding can cover essential expenses such as rehearsal and performance space rental or venue management fees. But that’s not all – becoming an Associate Company of Teatru Malta opens doors to exciting collaboration opportunities, including the potential for co-productions and close interaction with our creative team. It’s more than a partnership; it’s a journey of shared artistic growth.

How to Apply

You can apply by following the following steps;

  • Prepare Your Portfolio: Showcase your theatre company’s journey, highlighting your impactful work over the past three years. Demonstrate your passion and commitment to the craft.
  • Scout Your Ideal Space: Identify the space you envision as the birthplace of your creative endeavours. Whether it’s a rehearsal studio, a performance venue, or both – choose wisely.
  • Craft Your Proposal: Present a compelling proposal outlining how the funding will be utilised, your plans for collaboration, and your commitment to mentorship.
  • Complete the Application: Visit the Arts Council Malta website and follow the application instructions carefully 👉 https://artscouncilmalta.gov.mt/pages/funds-opportunities/schemes-2023/theatre-company-programme/

March Out Of The Closet

Being the National Theatre Company, Teatru Malta is by no means new to stirring up some drama. But we’re doing it a little differently this time ‘round by giving the opportunity to members and allies of the queer community to be the drama at The EuroPride March 2023.

You can consider this an invitation into our extensive wardrobe to select however many pieces you’d like and slay it at the parade on the 16th September. The only condition is that you strut like your life depended on it. 

ALT: The only condition is that they are worn WITH PRIDE!

Our wardrobe supervisor will also help you style your look and put it all together… not that we think you need any help when it comes to looking great, but we just want to make sure you look your absolute best.

Let us know you’re interested and tell us a little about yourself by emailing our wardrobe supervisor Luke at luke@teatrumalta.org.mt. 

ARE YOU A THEATRE-MAKER? TEATRU MALTA ROLL OUT THREE EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU!

Teatru Malta have just launched THREE very exciting opportunities! If you’re a practitioner who wants to hone new skills from international experts, a writer looking to research and develop your script or theatre piece through mentored workshop and feedback sessions or even a light designer or technician looking for workshops to perfect your craft on the Teartu Manoel stage, then there’s definitely something for you to take away from applying for either of these new opportunities. 

Curious? Here’s a little more information about each of these opportunities!

IL-KLASSI TAS-SURMAST will see world-renowned theatre company Rimini Protokoll invited to deliver this year’s edition of Il-Klassi tas-Surmast. The sessions will be led by Stefan Kaegi and Caroline Barneaud, dedicating five days of intense work in natural surroundings in Mġarr for the 15 chosen applicants. With their guidance, theatre-makers will gain skills and experience on sharing ideas with one another and work together towards the performative and ephemeral responses exploring the world of performance landscapes. Interested? Apply today by clicking here! Deadline to apply is the 23rd of May 2023. 

STUDIO FRANCIS EBEJER is a new theatre work initiative in co-production with Teatru Manoel, that provides theatre-makers with the right tools to research and develop their scripts or theatre pieces through workshops and feedback sessions, resulting in stronger artistic quality. It is organized by Teatru Malta and Teatru Manoel who would like to cement it as the natural successor of the Atelier Francis Ebejer and Premju Francis Ebejer, launched in 2018 and 1995 respectively. Successful applicants will be given access to the Studio Francis Ebejer’s resources, including rehearsal space, mentors or advisors, but also minor sets, props, costumes, actors and creative collaborators. Interested? Apply today by clicking here! Deadline to apply is the 15th of June 2023. 

XENI is our backstage masterclass in co-production with Teatru Manoel, led by theatre-design, stage-art, or management professionals for up-and-coming theatre-makers interested in working behind the scenes, all taking place on the Teatru Manoel Main Stage. This year, we will be focusing on light design with renowned UK lighting designer Ben Ormerod where applicants will then be given the chance to be paired with one of our Studio Francis Ebejer Projects, to work on the light design for the showcase happening on the 8, 9, 10 September 2023, under the supervision and mentorship of Ben Ormerod. Interested? Apply today by clicking here! Deadline to apply is the 1st of June 2023. 

For more information on all of Teatru Malta’s latest opportunities, please visit www.teatrumalta.org.mt or send an email to contact@teatrumalta.org.m

Applications are Open for Il-Klassi tas-Surmast with Rimini Protokoll

World-renowned theatre company Rimini Protokoll has been invited to deliver this year’s edition of Il-Klassi tas-Surmast. We’re looking for up to 15 energetic theatre practitioners to participate in this masterclass.

The sessions will be led by Stefan Kaegi and Caroline Barneaud, dedicating five days of intense work in natural surroundings. With their guidance, theatre-makers will gain skills and experience on sharing ideas with one another and work together towards the performative and ephemeral responses to the land art of the visual arts.

Artistic CV, headshot and a 300 word motivational letter should be sent on contact@teatrumalta.org.mt by not later
than 23rd of May 2023, noon CET. Please contact us to let us know if you have any access requirements.

TEATRU MALTA’S MANIFESTO

Manifesto Preamble

AFTER “THE THEATRE IS DEAD”

‘The Theatre is Dead’ by Frederick Kiesler was a one-page manifesto for the ‘International Theatre Exposition’ in New York, 1926. In the spirit of Frederick Kiesler, a Jewish refugee from what today is Chernivtsi, Ukraine and an artist who challenged the traditional boundaries of theatre and architecture. Inspired by this manifesto, Teatru Malta seeks to explore new possibilities for strategies and policies.

 As a young organization, we have faced our fair share of trials and tribulations; from shifting political landscapes to administrative obstacles and limited resources. Yet, as we settle into our new offices we remain committed to our mission to create bold and innovative work that reflects the diversity and complexity of our society. We are excited about what’s coming and we thank everyone who made this future possible. 

Our present reality is one that is fraught with constraints and insecurities which preclude us from promising an overarching strategy at this juncture. However, with this manifesto, we seek to challenge the status quo and push beyond the confines of traditional national theatre strategies. We created this manifesto in the context of discussions with our collaborators, associates and colleagues.

We recognize the need to address pressing local issues such as fair pay for actors and the lack of rehearsal spaces. At the same time,  we also believe that there is a larger conversation to be had about the role of theatre in a rapidly changing world.

By rejecting the superficial trappings of the past and embracing alternative modalities, we hope to – again – give new life to local theatre and create a space where the voices of our theatre-makers can be heard, and resonate.

So, here is our first manifesto, after Kiesler…

 

OUR THEATRE IS GETTING A DIVORCE.

WE ARE NOT WORKING WITHIN A SYSTEM THAT UNDERSTANDS THE NATURE OF PROFESSIONAL THEATRE.

FWE ARE STILL USING TOO MUCH PAPER. WE ARE AMATEUR BUREAUCRATS, NOTARIES, ACCOUNTANTS. 

WE ARE NOT PERFORMING FOR THE 98%. WE ARE PRODUCING FOR THE 2%. WE ARE NOT INCLUSIVE ENOUGH. WE ARE ACCESSIBLE.

WE ARE NOT PAYING ARTISTS CONSISTENTLY AND SECURELY ENOUGH 

WE ARE PAYING OUR DIRECTORS LESS THAN OUR OUTSOURCED CARPENTERS AND TREATING ROOKIE TECHNICIANS BETTER THAN OUR FOREMOST ACTORS.

WE NEED TO SETTLE FOR THE QUALITY OF THE CHEAPEST TECHNICAL QUOTATION WHICH IS TOO EXPENSIVE BUT TOO CHEAP.

WE ARE NOT WORKING TO DEMAND THAT NEW NATIONAL STAGES AND ADEQUATE REHEARSALS  BE BUILT. 

WE ARE NOT GIVING OUR BEST NEW SCRIPTS ENOUGH OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME CLASSIC, IMPORTANT OR RELEVANT.

WE ARE UNABLE TO IDENTIFY A FLUENT MOTHER TONGUE IN THE SUNG AND SPOKEN MOUTHS OF OUR YOUTH.

WE NEGLECT OUR THEATER ELDERS WHILE NOT ENGAGING ENOUGH WITH OUR TEENAGERS. 

WE ARE MARKETING MAVENS WITHOUT DATA LEGACY. 

WE ARE STRIVING TO PRESERVE AND REVITALIZE OUR HISTORY – OUR MEDITERRANEAN THEATRICAL ROOTS.

WE ARE NO-ONE’S COMPETITORS. WE ARE ALL THE UNDERDOGS.

WE ARE CURRENT AND NOT COMPLACENT. 

OUR THEATRE IS GETTING A DIVORCE

JOIN US IN SHAPING THE THEATRE OF THE FUTURE.

ADMISSION IS HOPEFULLY NOT FREE.

Teatru Malta Announces 2023 Spring/Summer Programme

Teatru Malta, Malta’s national theatre company, is back with a vibrant and boundary-pushing  lineup of events for the Spring/Summer 2023 season. Now that they have settled down in their new offices on the MCAST Campus in Paola, they’re ready to continue to shake things up with their Spring/Summer programme for 2023 

First up, Teatru Malta is collaborating with Theatre Anon. and author and poet Immanuel Mifsud for a promenade performance called “Dik Is-Siġra f’Nofs ta’ Triq” this June at the MCAST campus in Paola. This show which will be premiering at the Malta International Arts Festival is a performance that explores the tensions between progress and tradition through fantastical characters and magical realism and features over 20 performers, acrobatics, memorable songs, and magical visuals.

During this leg of the season, through a collaboration with KorMalta and Malta National Park, Teatru Malta is putting on a show for our furry friends and their owners called “Fi Do”. Composed by Karl Fiorini and complemented by the voices of Malta’s national choir, “Fi Do” will be  happening this July at the Malta National Park in Ta’ Qali, this show will be directed by world-renowned theatre company Manifesto Poetico who will be entertaining audiences through the art of mime. 

For EuroPride this September, Teatru Malta will be presenting “AURA – Musical In the Dark”, a co-production with EuroPride and Esplora which will take place at Esplora’s magical planetarium. In this revamped musical in the dark experience, Marta Vella and Vikesh Godwhani join forces yet again by writing yet another feast for the senses that will take you on a journey to Aura, a magical island where everything is possible. And this time, the music for this performance is composed by none other than award winning composer Luke Saydon.  

Teatru Malta is also proud to announce a rehashed Atelier Francis Ebejer in collaboration with Teatru Manoel and its masterclass programme, il-Klassi tas-Surmast. Atelier Francis Ebejer is led by experienced theatre professionals and offers a supportive environment where artists can experiment and push their boundaries. The masterclass programme, led by international theatre experts Rimini Protokoll, is geared towards more experienced theatre artists who are looking to hone their craft and refine their skills and deepen their understanding of theatre.

Teatru Malta is also excited to announce its Associate Company Programme with Arts Council Malta, which aims to offer local ensemble-based theatre companies something they have been craving for a long-time, medium-term funding for space.

But wait, there’s more! Teatru Malta is  teaming up with tech giant GO to bring some of its top musical theatre productions to your screens via the TOKIS platform, meaning you can enjoy at least some of the magic of theatre from the comfort of your own home.  And if you’re into podcasts, you’re gonna love Teatru Redifjuxin, where they tackle current issues in the theatre industry.

At the end of Summer and just before they will launch their Autumn/Winter programme, Teatru Malta will also be taking part at Pride March for EuroPride with their “March Out of the Closet”, where artists, actors and creatives can rock some of the company’s most iconic costumes at this year’s EuroPride March on the 16th of September for free.  

Make sure to have a look at the full programme to see what Teatru Malta has prepared for the coming months below.

Teatru Malta is supported by Arts Council Malta.

Photo by Elisa Von Brockdorff.

Trikki Trakki Welcomes Rebecca Camilleri as Festival Director

Children’s Theatre Festival Begins a New Chapter

Trikki Trakki children’s Theatre Festival’s 6th edition came to a close yesterday. Following the performances, Teatru Malta announced Rebecca Camilleri as the new Festival Director after the final performance of Trikki Trakki 2023. 

Rebecca Camilleri takes on the role from Antonella Axisa who has been Festival Director since the festival’s inception. After 6 years which allowed the festival to blossom into what it is today, the initiative which invites schools from all around Malta and Gozo to be mentored by some of Malta’s foremost theatre professionals ushers in a new era.

 “Trikki Trakki brings about a youthquake every year in each of our chosen schools. This needs a theatre fanatic like Antonella Axisa to happen. As she passes the torch, I thank her for her steadfast commitment and dedication to making Trikki Trakki such a loved festival by the kids. Now we welcome on board Rebecca Camilleri who is also madly in love with theatre.” – Sean Buhagiar, Teatru Malta’s Artistic Director 

Camilleri, who graduated from ArtsEd London with a Masters in Acting in 2018, is no stranger to Maltese audiences, having worked as an actress, theatre-maker and drama educator for several years. 

“I am thrilled to be taking on the Trikki Trakki Festival Director role for the coming years! I look forward to building upon the success of my predecessor, Antonella, to continue making theatre accessible to students around Malta and Gozo, and inspire a younger generation of theatrical talent.” – Rebecca Camilleri, Trikki Trakki Festival’s New Festival  Director

In her final comment as Festival Director, Axisa stated that “The work and incredible dedication that I gave to Trikki Trakki in the past 6 years were truly from the heart because I fully believe in the value of the festival. I hope that whoever interacted with the festival somehow – whether they are the children that took part of the creatives that worked with them – felt that they took something from the festival that they will be keeping with them.” 

As a new chapter for Trikki Trakki begins, Teatru Malta are excited to have Rebecca Camilleri at the helm of this theatre festival for children for the coming 3 years. This would not be possible without the collaboration present between Teatru Malta and the Ministry for Education which was created in 2022 to ensure that future generations are given the necessary opportunities to equip themselves in a career in the theatrical industry.

Ritratt ta’ Elisa von Brockdorff

CALL FOR OLDER ADULTS INTERESTED IN LEARNING THEATRE SKILLS

Kazin 60+ will be a fun, creative and learning outcomes driven  project,  based on the theatre world. In a group setting, two theatre practitioners and actors will lead two groups towards achieving new theatrical experiences. Guest tutors will also be invited to some of the sessions with the intention of sharing their expertise in the Arts and Performance field.

This project will be fun – full of theatre games, improvisations, movement, singing, reading and learning of possible small scenes and texts.  This creative space will be shared and enjoyed with like-minded persons from different walks of life, allowing the opportunity to develop new found friendships. 

From one session to another the new group of actors will gain experience as well as confidence, which can help with being on stage, delivering a speech but also in one’s daily life.

As a bonus, research in well-being shows that remaining creative, learning new skills and taking on new challenges in the later years is an all round win-win situation, and has proven to be beneficial on a physical and psychological level. 

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 22nd February 2023, noon.

DOWNLOAD YOUR APPLICATION CALLS TODAY